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Jon Steven Ward
Diedre Kilgore, Carter Roy, Brian Allemand
Writing Credits:
Geof Miller, Rory Veal

A man who committed a series of murders thirteen years ago begins to hunt down his victims' children.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English LPCM Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 4/25/2023

• Audio Commentary with Writers Geof Miller and Rory Veal
• “Screaming Teens” Documentary
• Trailer
• Image Gallery


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Lovers Lane [Blu-Ray] (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 14, 2023)

Generations of teenagers handed down the urban legend of “The Hook”, a psychotic killer who stalks couples as they fool around in cars. 1999’s Lovers Lane offers a cinematic twist on that tale.

In the mid-1980s, Ray Hennessey (Ed Bailey) uses a metal hook to slaughter teens who make out in their vehicles. He winds up incarcerated in a mental institution.

13 years later, Ray – nicknamed “The Hook” – escapes. Soon a new generation of victims becomes under violent assault.

Based on that synopsis, you might assume Lane will deliver a pretty standard slasher flick. And you know what? You would assume correctly.

Albeit we get a slow-paced pretty standard slasher flick, one that takes its sweet time to go anywhere – after the violent prologue, at least. Lane opens with the expected bloodshed, but once we get to “present day”, matters slow considerably.

Not that a slasher flick needs to go all hack and kill right off the bat, of course. A well-made tale such as this would benefit from some time with the non-psycho characters to allow us to get to know them and theoretically invest in them.

Unfortunately, I can’t call Lane a well-made tale – though I admit it feels reasonably professional, at least. While nothing about it breaks from the mode, it manages to avoid a certain cheese factor that would make it especially campy or silly.

Indeed, Lane almost feels like a breath of fresh air after 20-plus years of more aggressively edited and shot horror flicks. Most rely on non-stop cinematic shenanigans to attempt to compensate for their lack of creativity.

On the other hand, Lane comes across like a throwback to the 1980s style of slasher flick, the sort I thought went away after the success of 1996’s Scream. Once that hit skewered the horror conventions, it became more difficult for genre flicks to play it straight.

Which Lane does, and that allows it to hold up better than a lot of its more self-referential and ironic era-mates. Of course, this likely meant Lane felt stale in 1999, but in 2023, it comes across as more timeless than the snarky horror found with much of the late 90s efforts.

Don’t interpret this to mean Lane becomes an actual good movie, though, as it never manages to find a real groove. Really, I suspect whatever appreciation I hold for it stems almost entirely from my dissatisfaction with so many 21st century scary films.

As I implied, the last two decades found horror in a real rut, with the same jump scares and musical stings as a constant and not much actual creativity. When I see a relatively “modern” flick that manages to semi-avoid these trite techniques, I react to it in a positive manner beyond the merits of what the film actually delivers.

And Lane actually delivers a fairly sluggish and dull slasher tale. Like I mentioned, I like the idea of a horror flick that sets up characters in a gradual manner, but this one fails to use the extended opening act in a positive way.

Sure, we get to know a bunch of roles, but the film does little to develop them beyond basic archetypes. Lane offers just enough info to let us differentiate the parts but nothing more than that.

Once “The Hook” goes free, we might expect fireworks to fly, but that side of Lane remains oddly stagnant as well. Yeah, the body count gradually escalates, but the movie portrays these events in a way that essentially robs them of potential fright or impact.

Lane stands as a historical curiosity since it provides the feature film debut of Anna Faris. We also get Richard Sanders – Les Nessman from WKRP - in a small role.

Even with those elements – and a major twist toward the end - a scary movie without scares doesn’t really work. I appreciate the “throwback” vibe of Lane and would take it over a lot of today’s over-the-top horror flicks, but on its own, it just doesn’t click especially well.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

Lovers Lane appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and in 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The package describes the 1.33:1 dimensions as the “original version” with 1.85:1 marked as “alternate”.

I assumed this meant the 1.33:1 would offer an “open matte” image that the 1.85:1 would crop, but that didn’t hold true. Instead, the 1.85:1 revealed more information on the sides of the image.

Does it make sense to me that a movie made in 1999 opted for 1.33:1 as its desired ratio? Not in the least. Was that the case here? I don’t know.

On one hand, this disc’s commentary implied that those involved intended the film for theatrical exhibition, and that meant 1.85:1 made more sense. On the other hand, when I compared framing of the two, the 1.33:1 felt better composed. So – shrug?

As for quality, the two seemed largely similar with one notable exception: print flaws. Whereas the 1.33:1 edition came with only a small handful of specks, these became a more persistent issue during the 1.85:1 image.

Because the marks stayed tiny, they didn’t turn into a prominent concern. Nonetheless, the 1.33:1 offered the cleaner picture of the two.

Otherwise, the two ratios appeared virtually identical. Sharpness worked fine. Interiors tended to seem a little soft, but in general, delineation seemed adequate, with good accuracy most of the time.

I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering. Edge haloes remained absent, and I saw light but natural grain.

For the most part, the movie opted for a natural palette, with a lean toward a slight amber impression. The colors tended to feel more than acceptable, if not impressive. Skin tones did tend to veer pink at times, though.

Blacks seemed deep and dark, and shadows displayed nice smoothness and detail, even though we did get some softness in those low-light shots. Though the movie showed its age, it offered a reasonably positive image, particularly in the superior 1.33:1 transfer.

As for the film’s LPCM stereo soundtrack, it worked okay for its vintage, though 1999 seems awfully late in the game for audio that didn’t go multichannel. Nonetheless, given the movie’s ambitions, the mix didn’t shoot for much, but it added a little zest to the proceedings.

Music showed good stereo presence, and the various channels contributed reasonable engagement to the sides. Nothing excelled, but the soundscape gave us a bit of breadth.

Audio quality also seemed fine. Speech was reasonably natural and concise, while music showed acceptable pep and clarity.

Effects brought us accurate enough material. This was never a memorable track, but it suited the story, even if I felt I needed to dock points for the absence of a 5.1 rendition.

A few extras appear, and we get an audio commentary from writers Geof Miller and Rory Veal. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the movie’s origins and the evolution of the screenplay, cast and crew, story/characters, and a variety of production details.

Expect an amiable but inconsistent commentary. Old associates, Veal and Miller demonstrate a nice easy-going connection and make this a likable chat.

However, they tend to lack a lot to say about the movie itself, especially as the track progresses. While the first act comes with a pretty good array of notes, the pair lose steam as they go. This leaves us with a decent but up and down discussion.

Screaming Teens runs 31 minutes, 37 seconds. The program offers info from Miller, Veal, and actors Matt Riedy and Carter Roy.

“Teens” discusses the project’s roots and development, story and characters, cast and performances, influences and references, sets and locations, genre domains, thoughts about the director, and some general notes about the flick and its production.

Inevitably, “Teens” repeats some info from the commentary. Still, it comes with some fresh notes and perspectives, so it turns into a worthwhile program.

In addition to the movie’s trailer, we finish with an Image Gallery. It brings 109 shots from the film in a lengthy but dull collection of photos.

If you want to see Anna Faris in her first film role, then Lovers Lane will interest you. If you want to see an above-average slasher movie, though, you will not get much from this professional but pedestrian effort. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture, adequate audio, and a few bonus materials. This never becomes a bad movie, but it doesn’t gel into a particularly interesting one either

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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